The muscle creatine kinase gene is regulated by multiple upstream elements, including a muscle-specific enhancer.

J. B. Jaynes, J. E. Johnson, J. N. Buskin, C. L. Gartside, S. D. Hauschka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

170 Scopus citations


Muscle creatine kinase (MCK) is induced to high levels during skeletal muscle differentiation. We have examined the upstream regulatory elements of the mouse MCK gene which specify its activation during myogenesis in culture. Fusion genes containing up to 3,300 nucleotides (nt) of MCK 5' flanking DNA in various positions and orientations relative to the bacterial chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) structural gene were transfected into cultured cells. Transient expression of CAT was compared between proliferating and differentiated MM14 mouse myoblasts and with nonmyogenic mouse L cells. The major effector of high-level expression was found to have the properties of a transcriptional enhancer. This element, located between 1,050 and 1,256 nt upstream of the transcription start site, was also found to have a major influence on the tissue and differentiation specificity of MCK expression; it activated either the MCK promoter or heterologous promoters only in differentiated muscle cells. Comparisons of viral and cellular enhancer sequences with the MCK enhancer revealed some similarities to essential regions of the simian virus 40 enhancer as well as to a region of the immunoglobulin heavy-chain enhancer, which has been implicated in tissue-specific protein binding. Even in the absence of the enhancer, low-level expression from a 776-nt MCK promoter retained differentiation specificity. In addition to positive regulatory elements, our data provide some evidence for negative regulatory elements with activity in myoblasts. These may contribute to the cell type and differentiation specificity of MCK expression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)62-70
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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